January 4, 2017
Dozier, Baker, and the Ballpark Maker
All quiet on the Dozier front
The past three weeks have been filled with “will they or won’t they?” trade gossip on Brian Dozier and the Dodgers, but the past few days have been fairly silent on the rumor mill (which is perhaps its own form of a rumor). Last Friday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the Twins were telling teams to submit their final offers for Dozier over the coming days. Since then, there’s been precious little in terms of rumors and nothing at all in terms of concrete action, which hints that those final offers might not have been what the Twins wanted.
Though the Giants, Nationals, and Cardinals have all been linked to Dozier at various points throughout the offseason, the top suitor has seemingly always been the Dodgers. In terms of what they’d have to give up, the name’s that has continually come up is that of right-handed pitching prospect Jose De Leon—but the Twins may want more. According to LaVelle E. Neal’s reporting in the Star Tribune, the Twins would only be interested in a Dozier-to-Dodgers deal if they could bring back De Leon plus another of L.A.’s top prospects. And given the fact that such a deal hasn’t materialized already, if it doesn’t happen in the next few days it looks like it might not happen at all.
Baker, Nationals talk contract extension
Dusty Baker wasn’t the Nationals’ first choice to fill their manager vacancy last year—that would be Bud Black, who was offered the job and turned it down only when contract negotiations fell apart. But Baker then stepped into the breach with a two-year deal, and after the first year ended in 95 wins the team is now considering a potential contract extension for him. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, both sides would be willing to have that conversation before Opening Day, but there have been no official discussions yet.
Any sort of long-term extension seems as if it would probably be off the table, given how uncertain the Nationals’ future looks after Bryce Harper becomes a free agent in 2018. (Also given the fact that Baker is 67 years old and the second-oldest manager in baseball.) But considering the relative success of Baker’s first year in Washington, despite the playoff disappointment that ended it, tacking on a bit to his current deal wouldn’t be so surprising.
Diamondbacks take action to find new stadium options
An action that sprung from many rumors and should spark many more—the Diamondbacks have filed a lawsuit against the Maricopa County Stadium District, the legislative body that operates Chase Field, in an attempt to get out of their lease. The stadium was built in 1998 and the team’s lease runs through 2028, but the structure is currently in need of repairs and the Diamondbacks and Maricopa County have been locked in arguments for over a year on the subject of who will foot the bill. (Those arguments have gotten contentious to the point of getting personal.)
The county has so far stood firm on its position that taxpayer dollars will not be used for the repairs, which will run an estimated $187 million—though the Diamondbacks have also offered to pay for the repairs in full themselves, if they could be given greater control over the stadium and cheaper rent to go with it. But the county has so far said no, and the Diamondbacks have taken another route, filing a lawsuit yesterday to get out of the existing lease and negotiate a new stadium deal themselves.